RAEFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — Hoke County Sheriff’s Office is trying to get a handle on violent crimes.

Investigators tell us they’ve seen a rise in shootings, carjackings, and gang activity over the last couple of months. The sheriff’s office created a new Joint Violent Crimes Task Force to tackle it.

The task force spends its time developing cases against some of the most violent criminals in the county. It also increases the number of deputies and investigators throughout the area.

In just one month the task force has taken 20 illegal guns off the streets. Investigators say their work is having a benefit beyond county lines.

“By getting all these stolen guns and stuff off the street, we can take that and assist other agencies and our own in solving multiple shootings,” corporal Dylan Stevenson, Gang Officer for Hoke County Joint Violent Crimes Taskforce said.

“Just want to let the Hoke County Community know we will be out, we will be vigilant, and we will be working,” Sgt. Joshua Clark, Supervisor of Hoke County Joint Violent Crimes Taskforce said.

Right now, only four officers work on the task force. But Hoke County plans to expand it. Clark said while it’s too early to determine their total impact on the community—they have seen the number of drive-by shootings decline.